New Delhi: BJP on day rejected claims of "softening" its stand on Article 370 and said it stood firm on its demand that the provision giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir should be abrogated.
Supporting Narendra Modi`s demand for a "rational" debate on Article 370, Leaders of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj said the party has not softened on the issue and Modi has only said what Shyama Prasad Mukherjee had earlier stated.
"It would be incorrect for anyone to interpret BJP`s challenge for a debate on this issue as a softening of stand on Article 370," Jaitley said.
Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said, "Modi has asked what have been the benefits of Article 370. This is not being soft on the issue. Modi questioned whether there has been any gain from Article 370 and that this issue should be debated."
The Gujarat Chief Minister, who triggered a political row by seeking a debate on Article 370 questioning what benefits it has given to the state and its people, sought to shift the focus, saying he demands a "rational" debate on it and other issues including suffering of Kashmiri pandits.
"We need rational & focused debate not only on 370 but other issues relating to J&K, including suffering of sections of J&K society," Modi said on Twitter.
Seeking to take credit for raising the issue, he said, "Glad that after my call for a debate on Article 370, it is being widely debated among people & across TV, social media."
BJP had appeared to soften its stand for scrapping Article 370 of the Constitution that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir with Modi saying there should be at least a debate on whether or not it has benefited the state.
Addressing a rally in Jammu yesterday, Modi said his party wanted a discussion on various aspects of the constitutional provision.
The views of Modi and BJP Chief Rajnath Singh were seen as a departure from BJP`s position seeking complete abrogation of Article 370.